Creative Mac


Steve Cooper, CEO, Curious Labs

Poser Pro Pack
“The Pro Pack will be our first set of add-on functionality in the Poser brand's history. We've seen content available as a separately purchased product, but never feature-based enhancements. Our current schedule should see the Pro Pack available in mid-November here in the U.S., with worldwide English versions available nearly immediately after.”

—Steve Cooper, president,
Curious Labs

 

FEATURE AUGUST 29 , 2000
The Future of Poser

A Q&A with Curious Labs President Steve Cooper

by David Nagel
Executive Producer
[email protected]

Back when MetaCreations announced it would be selling off all of its software in favor of pursuing other interests, the future of a number of its programs was, at best, in doubt. Some of these were snatched up and (presumably) saved by large software developers. Some will, undoubtedly, be stripped for their technology and merged into other applications. Some will just be forgotten.

Poser, a character modeling and animation package, has, like a lot of MetaCreations' programs, achieved something of a cult status among users. Unlike MetaCreations' other applications, this one wasn't rescued by a big competitor. It hasn't been added to some development team's code junkyard. And it isn't about to be forgotten. Rather, it's been snatched up by the members of its original development team, who this year formed Curious Labs with the express purpose of continuing to develop, support and market the program.

I recently had a chance to interview the president of Curious Labs, Steve Cooper, about the future of Poser. He gave me some insight into the company's short-term plans, as well as some hints about the long term. Here's what he had to say.

Creative Mac: Tell me why you believe so strongly in Poser—not just in terms of your history with the product, which is obviously extensive, but in terms of where you think it can go.

Steve Cooper: First, Poser is a great product. It's revolutionary in its ability to make easy work of 3D character animation. It comes rich with 100s of 3D characters—people, animals, clothing—all ready to use, fully textured, fully pose-able; and it's easy. Second, there's an amazing community of users behind the product.

Creative Mac: I believe your first boxed retail release will be version 4.0.3, which is currently available as an update to version 4.0.2. When will your first major upgrade come about, and what are you hoping to add, either in a 4.5 version or a 5.0 version?

Steve Cooper: At this time, I'm unable talk about our future product plans. We have a great deal of remarkable ideas; many are in the works; it's very exciting to [be] back in control of the development cycle. Our most immediate plans we can share, and these are related to the Poser 4 Pro Pack. The Pro Pack will be our first set of add-on functionality in the Poser brand's history. We've seen content available as a separately purchased product, but never feature-based enhancements. Our current schedule should see the Pro Pack available in mid-November here in the U.S., with worldwide English versions available nearly immediately after. The Pro Pack will include a plug-in set that will allows a Poser scene file to be opened within both Lightwave 6 or 3D Studio Max R3 as a fully textured, fully animated mesh primitive, exhibiting Poser's joint blending and bending. We will also be adding two Web-based exports, including vectorized 2D Flash animation and, for 3D characters on the Web, export of the new Metastream 3 format. We'll be working hand in hand with Metastream to create a character playback component, which will integrate into the Metastream 3 player, enabling 3D Poser characters to be Web deployable. We are also adding a new Python scripting environment to Poser that will allow the creation of custom scripts to drive the interface and content. This is a very powerful way to customize Poser itself. Several other tweaks will include a multi-pane view and some character creation enhancements.

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